Kentucky accuses CVS Health of fueling crisis in new suit

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) is accusing CVS Health of “fueling” the opioid crisis in the state in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

Cameron sued the health care company in Franklin Circuit Court, alleging that its “unlawful business practices” and failure to “guard against the diversion of opioids” contributed to Kentucky’s epidemic.

“As both distributor and pharmacy, CVS was in a unique position to monitor and stop the peddling of these highly-addictive drugs from their stores, yet they ignored their own safeguard systems,” Cameron said.

By the numbers: The lawsuit said CVS pharmacies in Kentucky bought more than 151 million dosage units of oxycodone and hydrocodone from its own distribution centers and third-party distributors between 2006 and 2014. That amounts to almost 6.1 percent of the dosage units in the state at the time.

Cameron specifically highlighted two CVS stores in Perry County and Crittenden County that each bought enough dosage units to supply every county resident with 26 pills and 34 pills every year, respectively.

CVS response: CVS Health told The Hill in a statement that it’s ready to defend against the lawsuit’s allegations and that it invested in fighting opioid misuse and abuse.

“Opioids are made and marketed by drug manufacturers, not pharmacies,” the statement said. “Pharmacists dispense opioid prescriptions written by licensed physicians for a legitimate medical need. Pharmacists do not — and cannot — write prescriptions.”